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Corporate Connections


President Bush's Cabinet
President Bush's Advisors

Comedian Jon Stewart once joked that watching President George W. Bush pick his White House staff was like watching "the old band get back together." It’s true that many of Bush’s choices for the cabinet and top White House posts come from former Republican administrations, going all the way back to Gerald Ford. But what’s notable about this administration is not only the bona fide government credentials that the staff sports—it’s also the corporate connections they bring into the White House.

George Bush, of course, is a Texas oilman, although not a very successful one. His company, Arbusto, merged with Spectrum 7 in 1984 as it was on the verge of bankruptcy. Spectrum was bought out by Harken Energy in 1986, giving Bush a seat on Harken’s board, some stock options and a $120,000 consulting contract. As the first president to have an MBA, Bush has surrounded himself with people with similar (and more successful) corporate backgrounds. Vice President Dick Cheney was, until last year, the CEO of Halliburton, the world’s largest oil field services company. Halliburton, through its European subsidiaries, sold spare parts to Iraq’s oil industry, despite U.N. sanctions. The Bush administration is already considering whether or not it should alter the sanctions policy against Iraq, hinting that it might allow for more normalized trade with the country.

Of course, everyone knows that the U.S. oil industry has a secure foothold in the White House. But when he handed out cabinet posts and picked his top advisors, Bush left no industry out in the cold. From old school automobile manufacturers to fledgling biotech companies, just about every sector was covered. Below is a list of the corporations represented in the Bush White House. You won’t find every cabinet member or senior adviser listed here. Education Secretary Rod Paige, for example, was a school superintendent in Houston before coming to Washington. Senior adviser Karl Rove and counselor to the president, Karen Hughes, have political backgrounds. Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman, the former New Jersey governor, raised most of her campaign money within the state. But those on Bush’s staff who don’t have extensive corporate connections are the exception, not the rule:

President Bush's Cabinet
Cabinet Position Cabinet Official Corporate Connections*
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman ®  ®
Attorney General John Ashcroft ®  ®  ®
Commerce Secretary Don Evans ®
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ®  ®  ®
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham ®  ®  ®
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson ®  ®  ®
Interior Secretary Gale Norton ®  ®  ®
Labor Secretary Elaine Chao ®  ®  ®
Secretary of State Colin Powell ®  ®
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta ®  ®  ®
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill ®  ®  ®
Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi ®  ®  ®

President Bush's Advisors



Corporate Connections*
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card ®
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mitch Daniels ®  ®  ®
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice ®  ®  ®

*Click on individuals' names for a complete list of their corporate connections. All trademarks in this chart are registered trademarks of their respective owners. The Center for Responsive Politics is in no way affiliated with any of the companies listed in this chart. This chart is not intended to convey that the listed companies in any way endorse the Center for Responsive Politics or its work.

Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics.

-- Cherri (, August 16, 2001


And you expected what Cherri?

Does a history of pure politico filling suit you better?

-- Carlos (, August 19, 2001.

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